Title

Uchi/Soto (Inside/Outside): Indexing in social practice in Japanese society

1

Location

Armory Room

Start Time

1-10-2016 1:30 PM

End Time

1-10-2016 2:30 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

Key words: Independence, interdependence, social life

Purpose: To expand the theoretical understanding of occupation in everyday life in other cultures through continued exploration of Uchi/Soto concepts.

Intent: Occupational science has developed from Western philosophies, with a theoretical background of the independent self, which values autonomy, justice and control (competency). This presentation describes Uchi/Soto (Inside/Outside), a pragmatic index in social practice in Japan, from the perspective of the Japanese self; an interdependent, group-oriented, relational and shifting one.

Argument: In the West, independence is a primary value in social life. English speakers use “I” as a conceptual anchor point, an individual as agent in social life. To grow in Western society is to learn to be competent among others. On contrary, a Japanese calls oneself “jibun”, meaning “a part” of a whole: of my family, my group, my organization or my nation. Growing in Japan is learning to be able to attend to and depend on each other, to make balance or harmony with them, to compromise one’s own desires when necessary. “For Japanese, a dependency relationship is a desirable relationship” (Lebra, 1976, p.65). Japanese focus on the relationship of self with society and between persons in society. The Japanese self is relational and thus also shifting with context. Japanese gauge appropriateness in social life using the social axis, Uchi/Soto (Backnik & Quinn, 1994). Uchi/Soto is the central dynamic in making social order between self-expression and self-sacrifice. In English, Inside/Outside has a directional orientation of location and movement. Japanese Uchi/Soto, however, has not only a physical orientation but psychological and social ones. Uchi/Soto are continua with two indexings: engagement/detachment and self/society. Each continuum has two ends, an Uchi (inside) pole of occupational engagement, intimate and spontaneous, and a Soto (outside) pole; detached, disciplined and ordered. Uchi is the anchor point for the Japanese self and its agency in balance in social practice. Thus far, Uchi/Soto has been considered in terms of individual engagement in occupation. However, there are implications for co-occupation and collective occupational engagement as well.

Importance to occupational science: To expand theoretical ideas to more fully investigate occupation, Uchi/Soto can provide a stimulus for exploring relationships between individuals, and between individuals and society to more thoroughly investigate social occupations.

Conclusion and discussion question: How might OS scholarship be expanded, to include the study of Uchi/Soto from an interdependent perspective?

References

Backnik, J. M. & Quinn, C. J. (Eds.). (1994). Situated meaning: Inside and outside in Japanese self, society, and language. New Jersey: Princeton University.

Lebra, T. S. (1976). Japanese patterns of behavior. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii.

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Oct 1st, 1:30 PM Oct 1st, 2:30 PM

Uchi/Soto (Inside/Outside): Indexing in social practice in Japanese society

Armory Room

Key words: Independence, interdependence, social life

Purpose: To expand the theoretical understanding of occupation in everyday life in other cultures through continued exploration of Uchi/Soto concepts.

Intent: Occupational science has developed from Western philosophies, with a theoretical background of the independent self, which values autonomy, justice and control (competency). This presentation describes Uchi/Soto (Inside/Outside), a pragmatic index in social practice in Japan, from the perspective of the Japanese self; an interdependent, group-oriented, relational and shifting one.

Argument: In the West, independence is a primary value in social life. English speakers use “I” as a conceptual anchor point, an individual as agent in social life. To grow in Western society is to learn to be competent among others. On contrary, a Japanese calls oneself “jibun”, meaning “a part” of a whole: of my family, my group, my organization or my nation. Growing in Japan is learning to be able to attend to and depend on each other, to make balance or harmony with them, to compromise one’s own desires when necessary. “For Japanese, a dependency relationship is a desirable relationship” (Lebra, 1976, p.65). Japanese focus on the relationship of self with society and between persons in society. The Japanese self is relational and thus also shifting with context. Japanese gauge appropriateness in social life using the social axis, Uchi/Soto (Backnik & Quinn, 1994). Uchi/Soto is the central dynamic in making social order between self-expression and self-sacrifice. In English, Inside/Outside has a directional orientation of location and movement. Japanese Uchi/Soto, however, has not only a physical orientation but psychological and social ones. Uchi/Soto are continua with two indexings: engagement/detachment and self/society. Each continuum has two ends, an Uchi (inside) pole of occupational engagement, intimate and spontaneous, and a Soto (outside) pole; detached, disciplined and ordered. Uchi is the anchor point for the Japanese self and its agency in balance in social practice. Thus far, Uchi/Soto has been considered in terms of individual engagement in occupation. However, there are implications for co-occupation and collective occupational engagement as well.

Importance to occupational science: To expand theoretical ideas to more fully investigate occupation, Uchi/Soto can provide a stimulus for exploring relationships between individuals, and between individuals and society to more thoroughly investigate social occupations.

Conclusion and discussion question: How might OS scholarship be expanded, to include the study of Uchi/Soto from an interdependent perspective?